When you’ve lived for ninety-two years, you tend to pick up a bit of wisdom about what it means to be human.
Wanda B. Goines of Cave Junction, Oregon, was a beloved mother to eight children, grandmother to 15, and great-grandmother of four. Although she passed away in 2016, her legacy lives on in the form of not just her progeny, but in the artwork and poetry she devoted her life to creating.
Throughout her life, Wanda lived according to these values. She was an accomplished artist, illustrator, and poet. Deeply religious, Wanda also created many Bible studies, which are still available on her website. Her oldest son is well-known artist David Lance Goines, who said his mother is the only art teacher he ever had.
A few months before her death, Wanda gained internet attention when her caregiver, Kathryn Clausnitzer Wilson, uploaded a video of Wanda reciting a poem she’d written to Facebook. The video went viral, thanks to its inspiring message and frank reminder to all of us that outward appearances mean nothing; it’s what’s inside that counts.
The poem is called “The Gift Wrap & The Jewel,” and it is certain to move you in a very powerful way.
“I looked in the mirror
and what did I see
but a little old lady
peering back at me
with bags and sags and wrinkles
and wispy white hair
and I asked my reflection,
‘How did you get there?’
You once were straight and vigorous
and now you’re stooped and weak,
when I tried so hard to keep you
from becoming an antique
My reflection’s eyes twinkled as she solemnly replied,
‘You’re looking at the gift wrap
and not the jewel inside.’
A living gem and precious
of unimagined worth
unique and true, the real you,
the only you on earth
The years that spoil your gift-wrap
with other things more cruel,
should purify and strengthen
and polish up that jewel
So focus your attention
on the inside, not the out
On being kinder, wiser, more content
and more devout
Then, when your gift-wrap’s stripped away
your jewel will be set free,
to radiate God’s glory
The video of Wanda reciting her poem struck a chord with everyone who watched it. The video went viral and has now been viewed millions of times.
Watch Wanda recite her beautiful and insightful poem below, and please share to spread this message of self-reflection even further.